The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research's (UCAR) COMET Program Announces Climate Module

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research's (UCAR) COMET Program announces the publication of three short web-based modules relating to the impacts of climate change: Climate Change and Regional Impacts, Climate Change and Extreme Weather, and Climate Change and Sea Level Rise.  The Climate Change and Regional Impacts module provides an overview of the different effects climate change has produced in different regions of the United States. In addition, the module presents information on how climate scientists use specialized models and statistical techniques to estimate how regional climates are likely to change in the future and what those projections currently are.  The Climate Change and Extreme Weather module discusses how a changing climate can also lead to changes in local extreme weather events. The role of natural variability is also explained, and the module discusses what changes scientists think are likely if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.  Finally, the Climate Change and Sea Level Rise module looks at how increasing temperatures due to climate change have affected sea level rise and what effects scientists expect in the future, given rising greenhouse gas emissions. The various mechanisms of sea level rise are discussed, as well as the tools and research used to study this topic. The module also discusses how countries and communities are preparing for future increases.  These modules may be of interest to broadcast meteorologists, operational forecasters, and the general public interested in climate change. For more information, click here.

Preparing Hydro-climate Inputs for Climate Change in Water Resource Planning

MetED October 25, 2012
This module describes the process of selecting the best available climate projection information and using it to develop “climate-adjusted weather” inputs to be used for modeling climate change impacts. These modeled impacts can be used for planning of future water resources. Specific steps of this process include: 1) Recognizing the general science and terms associated with Atmosphere-ocean General Circulation Models (AOGCMs); 2) Making AOGCMs more regionally applicable through bias correction and downscaling; 3) Determining climate change scenarios based on climate projections and selecting specific projections to inform each scenario; and 4) Developing climate-adjusted weather inputs associated with each climate change scenario. For report, click here.

Coastal Climate Learning Tools Available

As coastal communities confront intensified storm surges, flooding and a host of other impacts as a result of the Earth’s changing climate, a multimedia self-guided educational module on coastal climate change was released today. This new resource can assist localities in developing strategies to cope with a variety of hazards – whether ongoing or intensified by climate change.

The material can be found here thanks to a collaboration among the Wisconsin Sea Grant College Program, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research’s (UCAR) COMET® program, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Program Office’s Sectoral Applications Research Program (NOAA-SARP).  Users will need to register prior to taking the course, but registration is free and easy.

In addition to case studies, video and other tools available through the online courses, a companion wiki includes additional resources that can be customized to address local needs. This dynamic site enables users to add and develop coastal climate content such as news about regional projects, uploaded presentations or even video. The wiki also offers grab-and-go PowerPoint templates based on the UCAR modules that can be adapted for local training or presentation opportunities.

Both websites have been designed to help “teach the teachers.” Extension educators and communicators, and those civic leaders and resource managers who live and work in coastal areas will benefit most from the material. These professionals face ever-increasing responsibilities to communicate and address the many and complex facets of coastal climate change.

“From rising seawater lapping on our Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts, to increased and severe weather events in the Great Lakes basin, the implications of coastal climate change are varied, but will be significant in many areas. These modules break things down and make life easier for those who need to share information on why this is happening, how rapidly it is happening and how communities can adapt,” said Michael Liffmann, leader with NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program.

The modules provide details on:

  • Downscaling climate models
  • Working with state and local governments
  • Preparing the coasts from the perspective of sustainable development
  • Working toward hazard-resilient coasts
  • Ensuring a safe and sustainable seafood supply in the face of climate change
  • Ensuring healthy coastal ecosystems in the face of climate change
  • Mitigation, adaption, and costs of building resiliency
  • Impacts on inland lakes
  • Saltwater intrusion and aquifer contamination.

The information presented in the COMET® modules was developed cooperatively with collaborators from UCAR, NOAA and many Sea Grant programs – of the nation’s 32 – and their university partners under the leadership of Wisconsin Sea Grant.

“The COMET® program is very happy to have had the opportunity to collaborate with NOAA Sea Grant and the University of Wisconsin (my alma mater) to develop this new module on coastal climate change. We feel it is important to be working through Sea Grant and its extension agents who are on the front lines helping to educate the public on climate and the potential impacts of climate change,” said COMET® Director Tim Spangler.

The coastal climate change modules and the coastal climate wiki are funded by NOAA-SARP.

While the climate change courses will remain static for the foreseeable future as a vital educational resource, they are nicely complemented by the organic nature of the coastalclimatewiki.org site that fosters online discussions and information sharing among top-notch scientists and those “on the ground” – Sea Grant and other extension agents, and other coastal leaders and planners leading to coordinated tactics and strategies.

“An article in this week’s issue of Newsweek reports that 14 states are working on climate change adaptation plans. These modules are a resource for those already putting plans into place, and those 36 states who may want to ramp up,” said Jim Hurley with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a leader on the websites’ development. “Extension staff, educators, communicators, civic leaders, resource managers and planners of every stripe can benefit from these new tools.”

Free UK-based tool predicts climate impacts on wetlands

By Sarah-Jayne Russell –The Environmentalist – February 3, 2012
The free assessment tool, created by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), uses data from the UK Climate Projections program to forecast the effect changing rainfall patterns, increasing temperatures and rising sea levels will have on wetlands. For full story, click here.

Remote Sensing of Wetlands: Case Studies Comparing Practical Techniques

By Victor Klemas – Journal of Coastal Research – May 2011
Remote Sensing of Wetlands: Case Studies Comparing Practical Techniques prepared for the Journal of Coastal Research. To plan for wetland protection and sensible coastal development, scientists and managers need to monitor the changes in coastal wetlands as the sea level continues to rise and the coastal population keeps expanding. Advances in sensor design and data analysis techniques are making remote sensing systems practical and attractive for monitoring natural and man-induced wetland changes. The objective of this paper is to review and compare wetland remote sensing techniques that are cost-effective and practical and to illustrate their use through two case studies. The results of the case studies show that analysis of satellite and aircraft imagery, combined with on-the-ground observations, allows researchers to effectively determine long-term trends and short-term changes of wetland vegetation and hydrology. To read full article, click here.